Thursday, September 22, 2016

The First Big Hot Flash of Hormone Cessation and Adventures in Curing

Yesterday was some fascinating timing... as my testosterone dose has changed to .5cc every other week rather than .5cc every week, it was my new "shot day," but it also coincidentally happened to be the first really nasty hot flash.  This occurred right during a meeting, which I tell you was really fun.  When I got home and took my shot (I dreaded this, by the way), within about an hour I had what I called "wax face" at the beginning of my hormonal journey, in which my face was shiny and greasy looking but didn't actually feel wet or greasy.  This all went away fairly soon.

Based on suggestions from a forum I've been lurking about the subject of getting off hormones I'll be getting some Black Cohosh to see if it helps with the bizarre hormonal systems.  This decision had some bad timing because I just passed up on seriously discounted Black Cohosh at the supermarket a couple days ago that somebody got to before me (got packages of bolted Einkorn flour for dirt cheap, though!).

My thing right now has been curing meats, which so far has been hit or miss.  It's really hard to stuff small sausages (like hot sticks) with a manual meat grinder, so I'll probably find a different method using the attachments, sort of like a frosting bag or something like that.  My jerky press will work for some sizes, but not all of them.  The one hot stick I managed to fill was with meat that didn't have any pink curing salt (and yes, I use curing salt, get over it) in it, so it wound up being extremely unappealing.

I made a nice slab of bacon as well, using pork belly I bought at Costco.  I added some seasonings that seemed right, and kosher salt, and curing salt, but I was a little incompetent with the salting and wound up with something closer to salt pork than bacon.  It certainly doesn't taste bad, but it'll only be useful for things that already need more salt.  I could see crumbling it over a salad.

Tonight I'll be making another slab of bacon using a recipe closer to the amount of meat I have.  The base recipe for about a 2 pound slab will be two tablespoons salt, one teaspoon curing salt, a half cup of sugar, and then extra seasoning as I feel like it.  I'll vacuum seal it all together so the salt draws out water and makes a nice brine in the fridge.  I'll cure that for about seven days and then smoke it over whisky barrel chips, which I learned recently I love.

I'm also starting some corned beef brisket.  I've always wanted to try making this and I just started the brine yesterday.  I made my own corning spice based on a recipe that had one tablespoon each allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander, red pepper flakes, cloves, and black peppercorn with two teaspoons powdered ginger, a half stick of cinnamon broken up, six bay leaves broken up, and nine cardamom pods.  The rest of the recipe is here.  I halved the recipe because my brisket is smaller.  That'll be sealed in a vacuum bag (without the vacuum, as it's a liquid) and kept in the refrigerator for about 10 days before I either cook or store it.

In addition I'm also making mead, banana vinegar, and an Egyptian style beer from the book Wild Fermentation.  Lots of projects going into the next season!

Happy Trails!
-- Setkheni-itw